Rain - the wind blew as I made my way up to the deans office. What will become of me? How will this play out? It was the final day of baseball practice - as an 8th grader I had elected to join the team - sports not being required until 9th grade. As a celebration Scott had brought a small bottle of Sherry - the kind one gets on an airplane. Of all the places to drink it we chose the middle of the hall just outside the door to the boys locker room. Just as Scott opened the bottle Mr. H entered through the hall doorway. We broke into a run and Mr. H chased us. I ran outside and up the stairs to the gym, that is where he caught me.
Walking through the rain I wondered what my mother and father would think when I told them. It is actually quite funny to be caught with such a small amount of alcohol - there was no way to get drunk. And why had we chosen the middle of the hallway to open it? Stupidity. Mr. R the dean listened carefully to my story. He shook his head and informed me that I would be suspended for one day - the last day of classes it turned out to be.
Coming home my mother was out but my brother Steve was home and we went out to get Mexican food. I told him my news and he said that our parents would not be harsh with me for I was a good student and never really got into much trouble before. On the phone expecting a punishment instead my father said that I was already getting enough punishment at school - he chose to let it go. My mother felt the same.
Every year at the end of classes all the school had what was called "work day" where we all cleaned up the school. It was all part of the "self help system". The school had a whole hierarchy of student government. The seniors were assigned areas of the school to be in charge of. The rest of the students worked under the seniors. The seniors had what was called "slip power". This meant that anytime a student broke the rules (and was caught) the seniors had the power to" write them up" with a bad slip. If on the other hand the student volunteered they would be given "good slips". At the end of each week the good and bad slips would be reviewed and the student would either get more privileges or be punished - namely Saturday morning cleanup.
It was a work day that Ron came up to me and said, "How goes it alkie?" as in alcoholic. News traveled fast. I did not find it funny.
That year I got into more trouble this time off campus. Each year we went on what was called the Whale Watch. We took a bus ride to the tip of Cape Cod got on a boat and looked for whales. Camping out it was all fun. Before the trip as we walked to soccer practice I had a great idea - or so I thought. "Why don't we have a competition to see who can steal the most." I offered. All agreed it would be great fun.
In Provincetown we hit store after store. The first thing I stole was a Hustler magazine - we were all more than interested in such a find typical of boys our age. Then we came to a novelty store. I had on an open flannel shirt with a t-shirt underneath. When I stole something I put it under the flannel shirt. In the back of the store my friends turned to leave noticing the shopkeeper looking at us from under the cabinet. I did not see him.
Yes this was a mistake. Taking a hat I put it under my flannel shirt but then for some reason I had second thoughts and put it back. As I left the store theshopkeeper, a rough burly bald headed man, took me by the collar and gave me a headbutt. I don't remember what for I was in shock. He scared me to death. Outside the store I was shaking much to the mirth of my friends. That was the end of my career as a shoplifter.